Prof. Rajiv Sanghal, Director of IIT (BHU), in conversation with Careers360 looks at the closing down of engineering institutions in the country and the issue of faculty shortage. In this interview Prof. Rajiv Sanghal also speaks about other emerging domain in engineering.
Careers360: How has the advent of technology changed the teaching-learning process in engineering?
Prof. Sanghal: Teaching has not much changed. If we talk of learning, we have several ways to do it but there are several components; like one has to first understand the context and then learn to apply them and then one should have the skills so that application can be done effectively. So, there is theory, application and practice. What happens is that when you work on a problem, there are no separate disciplinary boundaries as if you are a mechanical engineer then you also need to know electrical, some programming also. So, inter-disciplinary part has been important in engineering, which is still there. So to say that teaching learning has changed completely is not true.
Careers360: In the last 5-6 years, we have seen inefficient institutions closing down. Will it improve the quality of education?
Prof. Sanghal: Many of the engineering colleges that have come up are of substandard quality and now the students have also understood that joining them is a waste of time and money. So, many of them are now closing down or have vacant seats. Our A-grade institutions are really good, the B- grade institutions need to step up. We should close down C-grade institutions. It’s good that sub-standard ones are closing down.
Careers360: Does engineering curriculum need an overhaul?
Prof. Sanghal: The curriculum should be practice-oriented. Right now it is more theory-oriented, requiring more focus on skills and application. Introducing projects would instil project-based learning, which would bring about a change. However, we do realize that lack of faculty is a major problem. So, even if we change the curriculum and there is no faculty to teach, then it doesn’t work. So, we need to work on the two important issues of curriculum revision and getting good quality faculty.
Careers360: What would be your suggestion to resolve this issue of faculty shortage?
Prof. Sanghal: Several schemes have come and many people are joining the PhD programmes. Another approach is to get good quality people to teach by hiring people with Master’s degree rather than just looking at PhD-holders. We need to get good Master’s students and should enthuse them to join the teaching profession.
Careers360: What are the emerging domains in engineering?
Prof. Sanghal: Every discipline requires much skilled people. Not just Software and Electronics and Communications, there is Civil Engineering, Mechanical, Power, Material Science, these are all areas which require large number of engineers.
Careers360: Earlier, start-ups and e-commerce firms were recruiting from IITs in large numbers, but they are now focusing more on core sectors. Why is it so?
Prof. Sanghal: IITs want start-ups with deep technology rather than just business opportunity. Though there is nothing wrong with it, but IITs do not do anything special for such start-ups as they use standard technology and processes. Companies that work on and deploy deep technology, build products using deep technology, that is where IITs want to contribute more.
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